The family of a woman who was rushed to hospital with “life-threatening injuries” after an alleged stabbing at a Centrelink branch in Melbourne are considering legal action against Services Australia, claiming that the alleged incident should not have happened.
On Tuesday, Victoria Police confirmed that 55-year-old Centrelink Worker Joeanne Cassar was rushed to hospital after she was allegedly stabbed multiple times at the Louis St, Airport West welfare office at 1.30 pm.
According to Andrew Cassar, the husband of Joeanne, the welfare worker laid in a pool of blood for 25 minutes after the alleged incident.
“She laid in that position in a pool of blood until I got there, which was about 25 minutes later,” Cassar told 9News.
“She could have died or she could have ended up in a wheelchair. I’m mad as hell with what has happened and it shouldn’t have happened.”
Alongside possible legal action against Services Australia, Cassar’s family are also seeking worker’s compensation for the alleged incident.
Lawyer, Allanah Goodwin, told 9News: “Joeanne deserves to feel let down.”
“People deserve to be safe at work. From what we understand, in this case Joeanne was actually proactive.”
According to police, her alleged attacker 34-year-old Elijah Chase, was reportedly asked to leave the Melbourne branch on Tuesday morning.
Police claim that Cassar locked the door, initiating a screening process for each customer in order to protect her staff. It’s alleged that Cassar was ordered to open the doors.
Chase allegedly returned at 1.30 pm and reportedly stabbed Cassar.
A witness on Tuesday reportedly saw crowds gather at the welfare office after the alleged stabbing took place.
“As I was walking out of the shopping centre I overheard some people saying ‘oh, golly gosh, that’s not good,” a witness called Sarah told Radio 3AW.
“Everyone was looking over to a certain area where the bus stops are.”
The attack comes just weeks after a man was stabbed multiple times at a Service NSW in Sydney’s CBD.
The 55-year-old man was a worker at the office who had just clocked on to his shift moments before he was allegedly stabbed in the lower back, chest and shoulder. He was also rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
9News also reported that this wasn’t the Airport West’s branch’s first brush with violence, with another worker assaulted 18 months prior in an unrelated incident.
Chase appeared at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday evening, where he did not apply for bail.